The House vote on the GOP’s plan to overhaul the healthcare system looks like it could come down to the wire.
According to aggregate “whip counts” conducted by various outlets, somewhere between 20 and 22 Republican members of the House have said they will vote “no” on the American Health Care Act, which would repeal and replace Obamacare.
That’s right on the edge of the 22 members Republicans can afford to lose for the bill to pass.
“We’ve been making important progress,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise told reporters Tuesday.
Most of the “no” votes come from moderate Republicans who fear that recent changes to the bill would undermine protections for people with preexisting conditions.
An amendment proposed last week by moderate Rep. Tom MacArthur would allow states to waive certain protections of Obamacare, including aspects of its community-rating provisions that mandated all people who are the same age be charged the same price by insurers.
If a state were given a waiver for those protections, experts agree that insurers could price plans for people with illnesses above plans for healthy people and, in a worst-case scenario, make it unaffordable for people with preexisting conditions to access insurance.
While the MacArthur amendment was able to bring the conservative House Freedom Caucus on board, flipping roughly 20 votes of members who had been against the original version of the AHCA, it has also left some moderates fearing that costs for Americans with preexisting conditions may rise.
Based on the public statements of members, nearly every single undecided vote would need to break in favour of the AHCA for Republicans to obtain the votes needed to pass the bill.
The bill was already pulled from the House floor once, in late March, due to a lack of support. A second failed attempt would reflect poorly on the future of Trump’s agenda and on congressional leaders’ ability to deliver a successful vote.
Given the precarious position of the legislation, the White House has been pressuring members to deliver on the healthcare vote. Vice President Mike Pence, chief of staff Reince Priebus, and other Trump administration officials have reportedly been working the phones to flip votes.
According to Axios, GOP lawmakers have said they are targeting Wednesday for a new vote.
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